Wednesday, October 14, 2009



Japandroids live at the Barbary

Sometimes it seems like the world is out to get you, doesn’t it? Japandroids were given about 45 minutes before Barbary’s YachtRock party took precedence at 9:15pm to put on a barreling rock show. But their tour’s theme “Everything is Fucked” reared its ugly head last night. “Par for the course,” guitarist and primary screamer Brian King explained as sound man Joe got his mic up and running after it blew. Maybe it’s Philly that has it out for the Vancouver, BC lo-fi guitar and drums duo. The last time JPNDRDS were in Philly their amp exploded on stage and they had to buy another one “down the street so we could continue the tour.”

Nevertheless, King and his kickass drummer David Prowse managed fill the room with their blasting, energetic fuzzy garage sound. Opening their set with the aptly chosen “No Allegiance to the Queen” from their Lullaby Death Jams EP with the opening “We need aiiiiiirrrrrr” howl felt fitting. It was our first chance to hear King really wail and, boy, can he. He can go loud, harsh, long and, well, he must know how to fill those lungs and let em’ out right.

The all-ages no-booze crowd seemed about right: teenage angst was present and at the front of the stage screaming back almost every lyric and moshing a little at the singles. “The Boys Are Leaving Town”—the high-energy drum-rolling anthemic opener to their first full LP Post-Nothing—was no disappointment. King gets really into it, jumping around, whipping his hair along with his spastic playing, jumping onto the platform in front of Prowse’s drumset to wave his guitar around and up in his buddy’s face. It was endearing. When sound was not an issue King let out intermittent “Wooooo!”s and “Yeah!”s between bouts of guitar-trashing.

After a new, slower song, they did “Rockers East Vancouver,” a song the drummer sings and it killed. After “Cold as Ice,” a favorite of mine from Post-Nothing with the lyric “Your heart as cold as ice/ I should know/ I’ve been to the North Pole,” they dove into “Darkness On The Edge of Gastown” from Lullaby. An angrier tune with a “Tell her!” reprise.

Unfortunately, this is where the shit started to hit the fan. This was our longest pause to figure out technical difficulties where the drummer was forced to entertain us with chit-chat while King’s mic got fixed. “Does anybody here like parties?” he asked sheepishly. “Can you tell us where to get a good cheesesteak?” he asked to shouts of “Tony Luke’s!” before a “Jim’s! Jim’s! Jim’s!” chant broke out.

We thought we were good to go again when they ripped into the single, “Young Hearts Spark Fire.” The crowd was pumped. “OK, here we go for a rousing second wind.” No. Mic went out again. “Start again!” came shouted from the crowd. After another pause for sound help, we were back on track for them to finally wail out the single like it should be. “I don’t wanna worry about dyin’/ I just wanna worry about sunshine girls,” never sounded so good.

It seems like the air was pretty much let out of the room, though. Being nice Canadians they apologized profusely, and informed us they had time for only one more song. “Crazy Forever” was the overwhelming request from the crowd, so they ended with it. And it ruled. Next time they tour maybe they’ll be as big as No Age or Vivian Girls and get their asses to Johnny Brenda’s or the Church to put on a proper face-melting set. But it was good while it lasted.

By Bill “The Shit” Chenevert, PW music intern and Real Boss Hoss.


30 Second Reviews from 10/14

Mind Chaos

SOUNDS LIKE: Portland, OR new wavey rock quartet (plus a fifth keys guy) with buzz and a dumb band name, music's alright/almost disco
Free Association: We think these guys don't play hockey, maybe NHL 94 on SNES
For Fans Of: LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Strokes

The Lovemakers
Let's Be Friends

SOUNDS LIKE: High energy electrified pop rock that blends bands that shouldn't be blended: Tegan & Sara meets Avirl LaVigne plus Blink 182
Free Association: Their debut was much more fun, this, their third, not so good
For Fans Of: Ladytron maybe? Hard K Clarkson?

The Dutchess & The Duke

SOUNDS LIKE: Dark folk from Seattle goin' back to the days of Leonard Cohen and Dylan with simple, strummy songs filled out by organs and drums
Free Association: This isn't your dad's folk but it's not yours either
For Fans Of: Belle and Sebastian, Joan Baez

Basement Jaxx

SOUNDS LIKE: The UK duo drops another dose of weirdo electric but stepping up their game with guests: Santigold, Sam Sparro, Yo Majesty, and Kelis
Free Association: If you took away the guest vocals, it'd just be shit euro disco beats
For Fans Of: Daft Punk, M.I.A., raves

Jamie T.
Kings & Queens

Sounds Like: Brilliant South Londoner dubbed a one-man-Arctic-Monkey has high energy hooks, quick delivery and loads of talent
Free Association: There's a nice touch of hip hop glazed over his punishing lyricism
For Fans Of: Strokes meets Dizzee Rascal, Beasties

Fool's Gold
Fool's Gold

SOUNDS LIKE: Delightful debut of L.A. collective specializing in afro-pop but not in the trendy way, this is world music from America with Hebrew singing
Free Association: Born of barbecues and backyards, this is joyous sunny times on disc
For Fans Of: Authentic Vampire Weekend, Blk Jks


SOUNDS LIKE: Philly quintet's third LP of acid folk is a variety pack of weird influences: baroque, traditional folk, prog, and jazz improv
Free Association: The milk-eyed mender has taken too many pills and she's pissed
For Fans Of: Donovan meets Tool, Joanna Newsom

Crash Love

SOUNDS LIKE: Surprisingly not terrible post-punk power rock from bad-haired Californians eschewing the pitfalls of emo, barely
Free Association: So many bands do it 100x worse than you, so points for that
For Fans Of: Rise Against, Pennywise, tattoos


30 Second Reviews from 10/7


SOUNDS LIKE: Two druggy 29 year olds making ethereal California pop with asides in garage and psychedlia and it's as dank as their herb
FREE ASSOCIATION: Good thing you ran away from your Children of God childhood
FOR FANS OF: Ariel Pink, Holy Shit!, No Age

Wild Beasts
Two Dancers

SOUNDS LIKE: Quirky, breezy indie rock from Britain with equal moments of lightly bouncy and theatrically dramatic; quite good, cheerio
FREE ASSOCIATION: The lady voice, Hayden Thorpe, has a Kate Bush thing goin' on
FOR FANS OF: Happier Antony & Johnsons + Queen

The Hidden Cameras
Origin: Orphan

SOUNDS LIKE: The gay boys from Canada fill out their sound some taking queer political ditties and making them big, dark and symphonic
FREE ASSOCIATION: I miss the simpler days of "Boys of Melody" and "Awoo"
FOR FANS OF: Magnetic Fields, gayer Belle & Sebastian

Time to Die

SOUNDS LIKE: The San Fran duo's third and follow-up to the effing amazing "Visiter" is a slightly calmer version of their guitar/drums explosiveness
FREE ASSOCIATION: Yup, pretty much screwed yourself with that badass sophomore
FOR FANS OF: Vampire Weekend, slow Animal Collective

Amy Milan
Masters of the Burial

SOUNDS LIKE: A soft and spare collection of simple folksy songs from our Stars girl, usually just her and a guitar with splashes of country and blues
FREE ASSOCIATION: She's got a cute transmitter lodged in her vocal chords
FOR FANS OF: Broken Social Scene, slow Metric

Love 2

SOUNDS LIKE: A slowed down version of the Frenchies' electronic futuristic space pop crafted for lounging, soundtracks and making love
FREE ASSOCIATION: Dippin' into the red wine, haven't you? Or you're turning 40, or both!
FOR FANS OF: Boards of Canada, Phoenix/Daft Punk

Kurt Vile
Childish Prodigy

SOUNDS LIKE: Local boy done good with this epic rock record that is somehow punk and pop, sloppy and neat, harsh and sweet at the same time
FREE ASSOCIATION: Behind all that distortion and reverb lies a romantic gentleman
FOR FANS OF: M. Ward x J Cash + My Bloody Valentine

Chicken Switch

SOUNDS LIKE: Experimental remixes of the post-punk minimalists that range from dancy electro to unlistenable grindy, crunchy noise
FREE ASSOCIATION: What the hell is that... Is something wrong with my stereo?
FOR FANS OF: Brian Eno PISSED/on acid


30 Second Reviews from 9/30

The Black Heart Procession

SOUNDS LIKE: The droney, dramatic indie rock powerhouses drop their much-anticipated Sixth but it’s slower, darker and moodier than ever before
FREE ASSOCIATION: This definitely requires black; all black, dye, denim, makeup
FOR FANS OF: Explosions in the Sky + sleeping pills

Turbo Fruits
Echo Kid

SOUNDS LIKE: Be Your Own Pet spin-off that’s a trio from Tennessee - sloppy and chunky, bluesy and rambunctious, thrashy and a little much
FREE ASSOCIATION: There are just so many other bands that do this better than you
FOR FANS OF: Monotonix down a notch, Black Keys

Orenda Fink
Ask The Night

SOUNDS LIKE: Azure Ray singer’s second solo effort is a beautifully sad and tender collection of spooky southern and bluegrass heart-wrenchers
FREE ASSOCIATION: You must’ve had a lot of heart-ache to be singing like this
FOR FANS OF: Neko Case, Loretta Lynn, Beth Orton

All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

SOUNDS LIKE: Chicago’s folk rock outfit has given us another gem of experimental bluesy indie rock infused with starry-night country western flavors
FREE ASSOCIATION: This is what happens with Funeral Singer Friends? I need some
FOR FANS OF: DeVotchka, Will Oldham, campfires

Royal Bangs
Let It Beep

SOUNDS LIKE: Tennessee boys with a buzz to them whose second LP is a super-listenable blend of arty, proggy, electro-garage rock that the kids are gonna love
FREE ASSOCIATION: Add a dash of trendy folk art and a tour with label-mates Drummer, you rich
FOR FANS OF: Radiohead, Passion Pit, Hot Chip

Karl Blau

SOUNDS LIKE: Weird white boy from Washington’s a producer and man of many bands, but this is a great record of jazzy, quirky, rhythmic compositions of freak folk rock
Free Association: Hoped that crazy record cover would a good sign; and it is
FOR FANS OF: Beck, Brazil, bossa nova

Kill Hannah
Wake Up The Sleepers

SOUNDS LIKE: Shiny, plastic-wrapped emo power rock from Chicago who did indeed get their name from a romance gone bad and presumably all of their romances are still going bad
FREE ASSOCIATION: Hard to imagine who still listens to this ish; Papa Roach fans?
FOR FANS OF: Chevelle, HIM, Dashboard

Feel Good Together

SOUNDS LIKE: The Black Keys drummer brings together other drummers to not play the drums, too, and you can pretty much tell; it’s a decent but not great record
FREE ASSOCIATION: Those drum kit microphones might be giving you the wrong idea
FOR FANS OF: Watery Band of Horses, Pearl/Yamaha


30 Second Reviews from 9/23

The Blueprint 3

SOUNDS LIKE: The living hip hop legend's third LP since his 'retirement' is a sick collection of club-bangers, guests and slow jams
FREE ASSOCIATION: Hove, where's that Beyonce collab? You can't have her to yourself
FOR FANS OF: Yankee hats, hip hop, Blueprints

The xx

SOUNDS LIKE: 20-year-old Brits writing brilliant eerie, sexy and ambient rock songs about sex, love, dating and doing so whispy-like
FREE ASSOCIATION: Show me this record and I'd crawl into your dirty bed, crooked teeth and all
FOR FANS OF: Interpol, Portishead, sexy times

Sondre Lerche
Heartbeat Radio

SOUNDS LIKE: The Norwegian indie darling gives a softer record than Phantom Punch but not as jazzy as Two Way Monologue, it's just right
FREE ASSOCIATION: Why'd you have to go and marry some Scandinavian model?
FOR FANS OF: Jens Lekman, Lykke Li, Royksopp, Lindstrom

The Antlers

SOUNDS LIKE: What started as low-fi folk in a Brooklyn bedroom became a chamber pop force of nature and it's fully realized on this gorgeous record
FREE ASSOCIATION: Damn, you're on some eerie Grizzly Bear tip; but slower and creepier
FOR FANS OF: Dept. of Eagles, Grandaddy

Rain Machine
Rain Machine

SOUNDS LIKE: TV on the Radio's guitarist Kyp Malone's solo record is a long, meandering meditation on his crazy pseudo-yodle
FREE ASSOCIATION: Some Joanna Newsom shit done by a black man with an afro and big glasses
FOR FANS OF: Dear Science, Desperate Youth

The Shaky Hands
Let It Die

SOUNDS LIKE: Portland's jangle-pop indie darlings' second LP on Kill Rock Stars is non-stop strummin', singin' and bangin' all sad but sunny
FREE ASSOCIATION: If only all dudes who move to Portland and started a band sounded like this
FOR FANS OF: Blizten Trapper, better Decemberists

Monsters of Folk
Monsters of Folk

SOUNDS LIKE: A super-quartet includes two Bright Eyes dudes (Conor), M. Ward and Jim James of My Morning Jacket hatch a project; doesn't suck
FREE ASSOCIATION: It's not all Kumbaya or "Blowin' in the Wind," this is sick modern folk
FOR FANS OF: Jenny Lewis, younger Wilco

Flying Machines
Flying Machines

SOUNDS LIKE: New York boys' debut is hyped, not totally undeserved, and sounds like a Queen, ELO, the Jam and Weezer burrito
FREE ASSOCIATION: Sounded totally shitty at first (emo/tired/done before), but this one's a grower
FOR FANS OF: Moody lyrics, shiny modernism